IT Minister Johnny G. Plate arrested in IDR8 trillion BTS graft scandal

Indonesia’s Communications and Information Minister Johnny G Plate. Photo: Twitter/PlateJohnny
Indonesia’s Communications and Information Minister Johnny G Plate. Photo: Twitter/PlateJohnny

Information and Communications Minister Johnny G. Plate was arrested by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) today for his alleged involvement in a corruption case related to the construction of base transceiver stations (BTS) for a government 4G connectivity project.

The AGO said that Johnny was named a suspect after being questioned for several hours at its headquarters. He is accused of abusing his authority and causing state losses to the tune of IDR8 trillion (US$537 million) in the BTS project, which was under the auspices of his ministry.

The BTS project was headed by the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI), an agency under the Ministry of Information and Communications. The project aimed to provide 4G internet access to remote areas across the country.

However, the AGO found irregularities in the BTS equipment procurement process. Investigators had questioned Johnny about the irregularities on three occasions before he was named a suspect.

Johnny’s arrest has raised questions about his political future, as he is a member of the NasDem Party, which recently endorsed former Jakarta governor and opposition figure Anies Baswedan for the presidency in 2024. The move has strained NasDem’s relationship with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which leads the ruling coalition of parties.

Johnny is the fifth minister in Jokowi’s cabinet to be arrested for graft, after former youth and sports minister Imam Nahrawi, former fisheries minister Edhy Prabowo, and former social affairs ministers Idrus Marham and Juliari Batubara.


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